What Is Thermal Paste And How Does It Work

What Is Thermal Paste And How Does It Work

What Is Thermal Paste And How Does It Work

 When building a PC, you are more excited about the new processor, graphics card, and RAM than the canister of thermal paste you bought. However, thermal paste is very important for the health of your computer, without it your PC won't last long! Let's explore what thermal paste is and how it works.

What is Thermal Paste?

Thermal paste (also known as thermal grease or thermal compound) is a substance that is applied between the processor and heat sink. You can buy small tubes of thermal paste at electronics stores, sometimes accompanied by a small shovel tool called an applicator.

When you build your PC, you will need thermal paste so that your PC can run smoothly. Some CPU coolers come with pre-applied thermal paste so you don't have to use it again. However, some people don't want to apply any brand of thermal paste except their favorite brand.

The role of the thermal paste is to help transfer heat away from the CPU and onto the cooler. The heat sink then dissipates the heat from the hardware. This keeps the CPU cool, especially when it is tasked with heavy processing or work.

You may also come across the term “stock thermal paste.” This type is the thermal paste applied by the manufacturer, just like on a pre-built machine. However, some manufacturers skimp on the ingredients and use compounds that are not very effective at conducting heat. Because of this, people often change the brand of thermal paste they trust.

How Does Thermal Paste Work?

CPUs can get very hot, so it's important to draw heat away from them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, air is a terrible heat conductor, so there needs to be as little air as possible between the CPU and cooler for optimal transfer.

If you get inside your computer, you will notice that the heat sink is pressing down hard on the CPU. This seal may seem good enough to stop air from getting in. Unfortunately, even strong pressure is not enough to get air out.

The surfaces of the CPU and cooler's contact plates are covered in small indentations and crevices. If not properly closed, these gaps allow air between the processor and heat sink, reducing the efficiency of heat transfer between the two.

This is where thermal paste comes in. Not only is it a good conductor of heat, but it can also penetrate tiny cracks and grooves on hardware surfaces. This creates an airtight seal and increases the rate of heat transfer.

Over time, the thermal paste will get old and dry. Dryness reduces its effectiveness and causes the CPU to heat up. This incident is why people suggest reusing thermal paste to prevent the computer from overheating.

Do We Need Thermal Paste?

You might think that thermal paste is less important in PC building than the processor or power supply. While the computer will boot without the thermal paste, the problem will persist while you are using it!

Without thermal paste, there is no optimal heat transfer between the CPU and heat sink. Thus, the CPU gets a lot hotter if you are not using it. If the CPU gets too hot, it will cause overheat and result in stuttering from throttling, blue screens, and sudden shutdowns.

While buying thermal paste is the least attractive part of a computer, it's a must-have. This allows the heat sink to do its job better and keeps your computer cool.

If you're wondering whether you need thermal paste because you're worried about messing up your expensive new processor with gray goop, try getting a cooler with the paste pre-applied. Paste may not be the best kind on the market, but it makes installation easier.

How to Apply Thermal Paste?

Given the importance of thermal paste, there is a very volatile debate about the best way to apply it. If you surf the internet, you will find theorems, strategies, and suggestions for applications.

The simplest application method is to place a bean drop in the center of the processor. Then, attach the heat sink to the processor, applying pressure to all four corners evenly. This ensures the thermal paste is sandwiched and distributed evenly along the surface.

If your thermal paste comes with an applicator, you can use it to get an even distribution. Some people like this method to ensure perfect deployment before they clamp the cooler on the processor. Some methods talk about line-based applications spanning across the processor core. Of course, you have to know where the cores are on the processor, so it's not for everyone.

But We will recommend you to the application website Artic Silver which tells you the ideal application paste method depending on the CPU model. It's great to learn the different ways and choose the method that best suits your hardware.

But whatever method you choose, it's important to make sure no bubbles or gaps form in the paste. This lets pesky air in and hinders heat distribution.

What's the Best Thermal Paste Brand?

Choosing the best thermal paste is quite difficult, as everyone has a different opinion on which one is best for them. However, you can choose the best brand by looking at the test results and basing your decision on the raw data. To check the efficiency of the thermal paste, first measure the idle temperature of the computer. Then, they applied a brand of thermal paste onto the processor. The computer was then put through a stress test.

The tester checks the max temperature of the processor during a stress test. They then compared the temperature of the stress test with the idle temperature from before. The smaller the difference between the idle temperature and the stress test temperature, the better the thermal paste is at dissipating heat.

To see the best brands of thermal paste, try this benchmark spreadsheet and look for the compound with the lowest temperature change. The spreadsheet will also note if the brand of paste is difficult to apply, so be sure to note that if you've never used thermal paste before.


While thermal paste isn't necessary to turn on the computer, it is very useful for keeping temperatures down. Because of this, you should always apply thermal paste when building a computer, even if the internet can't agree on the best way to distribute it!

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So many articles What Is Thermal Paste And How Does The Process Keep Your PC Cool. Look forward to other interesting articles and don't forget to share this article with your friends. Thank you…

Resa Risyan

Just an ordinary person who wants to share a little knowledge, hopefully the knowledge I provide can be useful for all of us. Keep in mind! Useful knowledge is an investment in the afterlife.

Also, read the article about What Is TPM And How To Check It?. And see you in another article. Bye
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